Later, Piniella said the A's needed Thomas to get "en fuego" -- hot in Spanish -- because he was currently "frio" -- or cold. After Brennaman praised Piniella for being bilingual, Lyons spoke up.
Lyons said that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" -- butchering the conjugation for the word "to speak" -- and added, "I still can't find my wallet."
"I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit too close to him now," Lyons continued.
FOX executives told Lyons after the game he had been fired.
That sounds pretty bad. And that's the way I read the news at David Pinto's site, but there is actually a plausible excuse for what Lyons said. Sort of...
In the second inning of Friday's game between Detroit and Oakland, Piniella talked about the success light-hitting A's infielder Marco Scutaro had in the first round of the playoffs. Piniella said that slugger Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez needed to contribute, comparing Scutaro's production to "finding a wallet on Friday" and hoping it happened again the next week.
Without the context of Piniella's earlier wallet analogy, it looks pretty bad for Lyons. But I believe him when he says he was kidding...
"If I offended anybody, I'm truly sorry," Lyons said in a phone interview. "But my comment about Lou taking my wallet was a joke and in no way racially motivated."
It was a joke about Piniella, not a joke about Hispanics being pickpockets. I won't miss Lyons in the booth because I found him annoying (though his replacement today was actually worse), but he deserved to be fired for being a tool and a shitty analyst, not for being a trumped-up racist.